Inert gases are back under the spotlight following three fatalities at a South Korean power plant in December. Unlike toxic gases such as carbon monoxide, inert gases are non-toxic at normal atmospheric concentrations. The danger lies in their ability to deplete oxygen from the ambient air – especially when used in confined spaces.
A nitrogen leak is believed to have been responsible for the most recent incident in South Korea. Nitrogen is used in manufacturing, science, medicine, food processing and the construction industry, yet despite its inherent dangers it is a persistent cause of accidental death. In common with other inert gases such as helium and argon, nitrogen is invisible, tasteless and odourless and can therefore cause asphyxiation without warning.
Leakage of inert gas into an enclosed area can quickly create a life-threatening situation. Analox therefore recommend that environments where inert gases are stored or used are continuously monitored for oxygen depletion. The Analox O2NE+ oxygen monitor is designed for this purpose. This instrument comprises a wall mounted main sensor unit, a repeater, two levels of audio/visual alarms and a long-life sensor which lasts up to ten years. A 2-year warranty is provided as standard and an optional 5-year warranty is also available.